At the beginning of last week we took the St Bs staff on a tour of Solar House. It was the first time that most of them had seen the interior of the building and the excitement was palpable. It was also the first time I had been there without a specific agenda, and it was great to spend an hour and half wandering around imagining and praying. I found myself getting excited again and it made me realise afresh what a fantastic building it is. Everyone was impressed by the sheer extent of the space that it provides. When we got to the top floor we were wowed by the incredible views across North London. As we scanned the horizon we could clearly see Docklands, the City of London, the Shard, the BT Tower, Alexandria Palace, Wembley and Harrow on the Hill. The one thing that we could not see was St Barnabas. Even in the heart of winter, with no leaves on the trees, our current church evaded any sighting. I know we are tucked away, but for such a large building to remain unseen is weird, like some elaborate magic trick.
A couple of things occurred to me from this experience:
Firstly: This January has been like no other I've experienced in my time at St Bs. For a number of years we have started the year off with some kind of prayer focus, and whilst this has not been a fixture in the St Bs calendar, it has been an appropriate way to start each new year. But this year was different, as we found ourselves collectively holding our breath as we waited to see if we would exchange contracts on the purchase of Solar House. It felt impossible to see past this roadblock, and although many of us were engaged in fervent prayer for breakthrough, anything beyond this one affair was still over the horizon. However the moment exchange of contracts happened, everything changed. We can now see far further than we could just a couple of weeks ago with a new vista emerging ahead of us. Like the spectacular views from the top of Solar House, a number of things, which were previously shrouded in the mists of uncertainty, have now become far clearer.
Secondly: Our move from Holden Road up onto the High Road and into Solar House will be a move from near invisibility to remarkable prominence. Our current location is hidden and few outside the Christian community, even if they've heard of us, have any clue as to where we are. Solar House on the other hand is one of the most prominent buildings in North Finchley. Of course hardly anybody pays it much attention at the moment, because offices are closed off private buildings that don't invite in the outsider. But, once a large new public entrance is created, framed by banners, it will be impossible to ignore, and it won't be long before everyone knows where we are. How will that affect us and our ministries? We are surely set to change beyond what we can currently imagine.